Stenographer for murder trial
Middleton murder trial.But taxpayers will be footing the bill for the American stenographer's work during the trial which is expected to last several weeks.Crown counsel William Pearce QC, who made the application for the stenographer yesterday, said the court reporter was brought in "to try and speed things along''.He said without the stenographer, the trial would take much longer since the judge would still have to take longhand notes of the proceedings."This has proven to be the case already...it's obviously a benefit to everybody,'' he said."Studies have shown that (court time) is shortened by a third, and of course you have an accurate transcript which gives a better system of justice,'' he added.And Mr. Pearce said he was pleased by promises made in the new PLP Government's Throne Speech and election platform about establishing regular court reporters.According to Mr. Pearce, the use of the stenographer for the Justis Smith trial had been approved by Puisne Judge Vincent Meerabux and defence lawyer John Perry QC.And Mr. Pearce claimed that funding had already been approved by the Attorney General's chambers -- although he did not know what the final numbers would be for the stenographer's fees. The Royal Gazette understands that Mr. Justice Meerabux insisted upon receiving a copy of the transcript before leaving for the day -- and also wanted written confirmation that the AG's chambers would foot the stenographer's bill.The Solicitor General later produced a letter confirming that they would pay for the reporter.British defence lawyer John Perry QC was nonplused by the addition of the stenographer, since court reporters are standard fare in England."There is nothing revolutionary about this, from what I'm used to,'' he said."But the importance does not lie in speeding up the process -- the importance lies in providing an accurate record that can be seen rather quickly,'' he added.The Royal Gazette understands that although Mr. Perry did not have an objection to the stenographer, he requested that a tape recorder also be used in case of a discrepancy between the reporter's and Mr. Justice Meerabux's notes.The murder trial has had its fair share of external costs, including fees paid to defence witness, forensic authority Dr. Michael Baden and Crown witness Dr.Henry Lee -- a blood expert who worked in the O.J. Simpson trial.Dr. Lee was on Island last week, but was unable to testify on Friday due to an objection by the defence. Dr. Lee was flown back to the US and will return later to testify.COURTS CTS
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